The Quick Report

10 Controversial Cartoons That Could NEVER Be Made Today

As time passes, sensibilities shift, and the culture at large leaves certain attitudes in the past. Many older cartoons showcase attitudes or ideas that simply wouldn’t get past the drawing board these days. Here are ten cartoons that animation studios simply wouldn’t make today.

Fritz the Cat

Image Credit: MGM

The 1972 Fritz the Cat is based on the R. Crumb comics of the same name. With its outdated depiction of African Americans and its extremely objectifying treatment of female characters, the film wouldn’t get very far in the modern era.

The Ren and Stimpy Show

Image Credit: Nickelodeon, Paramount

The Ren and Stimpy Show was an exercise in seeing how much the animators could get past the censors. The answer was, apparently, “a lot.” After the series was cancelled, an explicitly adult-oriented and short-lived revival appeared on Spike TV but was canned after three episodes.

Coal Black and the Seven Dwarves

Title card for "Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs"
Warner Bros.

This one is so unrelentingly racist that we don’t even want to call it by its actual name. Created by Warner Bros. as a Merrie Melodies short, this extremely problematic take-off of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is one cartoon the Looney Tunes creator probably wishes it could erase from existence.

Song of the South

Image Credit: Disney

Song of the South is one of the small handful of Disney’s feature films you can’t easily find anymore. That’s mainly because it contains insensitive depictions of black characters and themes that Disney would rather people not associate with their company.

Hare Ribbin

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

This Looney Tunes short is considered one of the more controversial entries in Bugs Bunny’s oeuvre. In this caper, Bugs outwits a hound dog who chases him around. In the end, he seemingly convinces the dog to take its own life. An alternate ending is no better, ending with Bugs doing the deed himself. Needless to say, this one isn’t widely available.

Der Fuehrer’s Face

Image Credit: Disney

Another unusual Disney film, Der Fuehrer’s Face was created to raise money for the US government’s war bonds during the Second World War. Donald Duck is depicted as being sympathetic to the German war effort, with images of the character in military garb looking particularly out of place to modern audiences.

Blame it on Lisa

Image Credit: Fox

The Simpsons is no stranger to controversy, but this one is just weird. “Blame it on Lisa” follows the titular family on a trip to Brazil so Lisa can check on an orphan she’s sponsoring. Brazil is depicted as impoverished and dangerous—and the show’s creators conflate the country with Mexico in some truly baffling ways, including assuming The Macarena is from Brazil.

The Flintstones Winston Commercial

Image Credit: Hanna-Barbera

Smoking cigarettes has become so taboo in recent years that it’s unusual to even see movie characters smoking anymore. That’s why seeing Fed and Barney smoking cigarettes in this long-form Winston commercial is so strange. Kids mistaking this paid ad for an actual episode of The Flintstones would have definitely been confused!

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Deadly Force

Image Credit: Disney

In the Gargoyles episode “Deadly Force,” Broadway accidentally shoots the show’s protagonist, Elisa, with her own weapon. This somber episode is a deep meditation on the dangers of, well, deadly force, and the real-world issue of criminal violence. Because of its realistic depictions of violence, though, the episode has remained controversial.

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Space Jam (1996)

A screenshot from Space Jam
Image Credit: Warner Bros

The 1996 film Space Jam isn’t particularly bad for kids, but one new character introduced in the movie certainly wouldn’t be made today. At least, not with the personality she had in the finished film. Lola Bunny, a character introduced just to give Bugs a girlfriend, has essentially no personality aside from being a girl. When Lola reappeared in other Looney Tunes media, she was outfitted with a zany, out-there personality to make her more of an actual character.

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